I discovered Son Lux while browsing through the Alternative preorders on iTunes. The artwork caught my eye, I listened to the sample for “Change is Everything,” and I didn’t return to it until its video came out.
Yes, that’s really pins and thread. You can watch the making-of video here. Having been thoroughly impressed by the video and the song, I gave the rest of Son Lux’s catalog a listen. I was delighted to find that the same attention to detail that captivated me in the video was present in all of his endeavors. Bones is a continuation and improvement upon this musical genius.
The album starts with a brief intro, which consists of minimalist instrumentation and a segment of lyrics from a later song. This track choppily leads into “Change is Everything.” While this initial transition is a bit rough, the album feels incredibly cohesive from then on, organically rising and falling from bombastic anthems such as “This Time” to gentler tracks like “Your Day Will Come.”
All the while, Son Lux uses familiar devices from previous albums, even to the point of reusing progressions and lyrics (“Lost It To Trying,” “Rising,” and “Weapons” all make return appearances). Some may view this as lazy, while others may see this as a sort of thematic unity throughout his work. The same could be said of the obtuse, minimalist lyricism. Ryan Lott’s voice is also an acquired taste. These things, combined with the abstract musical textures, make for a very polarizing experience. Either you’ll really like this album, or you probably won’t make it all the way through.
Nevertheless, the musicianship is nothing but mastery. There is little fault to be found in the layers of progressive synth-rock that make up Bones. Orchestral arrangements are juxtaposed with heavily synthetic elements, which are accompanied by choir-like gang vocals. Imagine industrial, hip-hop, jazz, and dance all going on a date to the opera, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect when listening to this album. But even given that primer, the music goes in unexpected – yet natural – directions, both surprising and delighting the listener.
Son Lux has evolved since his debut of At War With Walls and Mazes. While certain elements of electronic minimalism remain, Lott & crew are pushing their sound into bolder directions and discovering uncharted territory. Bones is, simply put, an adventure of an album – one not for the faint of ear. Certainly give the band a looksee on their social medias and consider picking up Bones.
PS: Son Lux also has some pretty cool vinyl releases on their former label, Joyful Noise. You can check those out here.